Four women tie-dye cotton fabrics. In the background, dyed fabrics are hung on a line to dry. The dyed fabrics are then sold on the market and later made into traditional Somali dresses.

Expanding economic opportunities for women

Economic empowerment of women in Somalia

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Country
  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2023 to 2026

  • Products and expertise

    Economic development and employment


Due to prolonged armed conflicts and an increasing number of climate-related natural disasters, poverty and a lack of economic prospects are growing among the population of Somalia – 70 per cent live below the poverty line and more than 7.1 million people are dependent on humanitarian aid.

Somali society is patriarchal, which often means that women are restricted to their role in the household. As a result, they are severely impacted by precarious circumstances. Equal economic and social participation is only possible to a limited extent.

Moreover, 99 per cent of all Somali women between the ages of 15 and 49 are affected by female genital mutilation. Conflict, drought and famine are fuelling structural violence and the abuse of women.

Women are primarily employed in informal work and in micro-enterprises. The economic contribution of women entrepreneurs is recognised and supported by society in part, but they lack access to value chains, financing opportunities, market information and training. There is a lack of information and economic prospects outside of sectors such as cosmetics, tailoring and food services.

Seven women weave baskets, bags and carpets that will later be sold.© GIZ


The economic participation of women in Kismayo and Baidoa in Somalia has improved.


The project:

  • Develops the economic skills of the target group in Kismayo and Baidoa
  • Develops the expertise of civil society, state and private sector organisations to support small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Improves the coordination capacities of relevant stakeholders
  • Is creating two exchange forums in Kismayo and Baidoa
  • Is setting up gender-specific support services
  • Instructs trainers on entrepreneurial resilience, coaching and mentoring
  • Develops long-term business models for women in Kismayo and Baidoa
  • Creates campaigns to disseminate the success stories of businesswomen

Last update: March 2024